The 3rd Annual Dana Point State BBQ Championships – The Grills That Thrill

Posted: October 8, 2013 in Bacon, Beer, Events, Food, Orange County
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Despite the changing seasons, Americans still consider this time of the year as part of grilling season, which apparently does not end until Thanksgiving weekend. As such, we can still enjoy the season’s best in barbecue and grilled meats, such as at the 3rd Annual Dana Point State BBQ Championships. Having wrapped up this past Saturday at Sea Terrace Park in Dana Point, this BBQ festival & competition saw over 100 teams of Grill Masters gather from around the country to serve up their finest BBQ and compete for cash, prizes, and titles. Free to attend for all ages, visitors purchased sample tickets for $2, with all proceeds going towards the VFW charity, and used those tickets to exchange for samples from any of the participants. Visitors could find all sorts of BBQ meats here, from pulled pork to ribs to brisket to bacon and more. A true test to the home Grill Master, this competition did not allow anything corporate to set foot in this area – only amateur or local groups could enter, and all foods served had to come from non-corporate sources, such as locally-raised meat or homemade BBQ sauces.

Beyond the BBQ area, visitors could find an entire second half to the fest, filled with more booths to check out. From merchandise vendors to service providers to other food vendors to the kids’ activities center and more, visitors could fall back to this second half when in need of a break from consuming all that BBQ meat. For the adults, a row of craft beer & wine booths, featuring some of the country’s favorite breweries & wineries, established itself across from the music stage. Small 4oz beer pours cost $2 each, while large 12oz beer pours cost $6, and visitors could walk freely around the festival with drinks in hand.

The BBQ area covered a wide expanse of Sea Terrace Park, allowing for over a hundred entrants to set up and grill up their finest meats. A regular visitor may feel overwhelmed at the available choices, and would want to try everything. Like any sort of festival like this, it helps to have a plan going into it. Doing prior research may leave a visitor empty-handed, as the website does not list the names of all the entrants. Instead, for a BBQ festival like this, it helps to look for key words among all the participants, based on what you desire. In my situation, I sought anyone with a good cut of brisket, especially end cuts or burnt ends. Anyone with candied bacon also stood out to me, so I prioritized those two items. Although I had countless entrants to choose from, I eventually ended up sampling the following:

I had liked Twisted Brisket‘s Brisket Ends so much that I wanted to return to them to use the last of my sample tickets to get them again. However, they had run out of ends by the time I returned, so I settled for regular brisket, plus some candied bacon that they had just finished preparing.

Information Page
Competition Results

The Dana Point State BBQ Championships has everything that food fans will love. With this much tantalizing meat around, the scent would drive anyone crazy enough to crave more. By opening up the competition to the rest of the country, the organizers ensure inviting only the best of the best not only to compete for the prizes, but to serve the visitors the best of BBQ to keep them coming back for more. By making admission free, this gives visitors the freedom to explore at their leisure, and only buy as much as they want to consume. With Fall having just started, this may motivate you to get out there and grill something up for yourself, friends, family, or more. Keep this BBQ Fest in your calendar for next year, as you will not want to miss this host of a roast.


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